Friday, August 23, 2013

Introduction to Persian Cuisine at Arya

One of the things I love about maintaining this blog is that I'm constantly researching for my next post. I'm also open to new experiences, thus I was doubly excited to try the Arya Restaurant, since I can't recall having eaten Persian or Iranian cuisine before. A quick online search yields this nugget that typical main dishes from this area are combinations of rice with beef, lamb, chicken, or fish and vegetables, nuts, spices, and herbs.

Fittingly enough, I ordered lamb biryana, a rice-based dish, on my first visit. The lamb was oh-so-soft and flavorful with herbs. The rice, which was plentiful, was perfect counterpoint to the strong, meaty flavor. The lamb wasn't gamy. I wished the dish had more sauce. The green pepper made the dish spicier. I wonder if back in Iran this dish had more heat. I had a big plate, but I was able to finish it without difficulty. Before I knew it, I was scraping the remaining meat from the bone.
For dessert I ordered the almond baklava, a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of  phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. Arya's version had raisins. It was light, not too sweet, and served a tad warm. It was cinnamony, chewy, and firm. Compared to the picture in menu, the actual dish looked quite slight.
A few weeks later i returned. I was craving for shawarma, and the beef koobideh wrapped in pita bread fit the bill. Koobideh is an Iranian minced meat kabab, often mixed with parsley and chopped onions.

I just love how it was presented. And the Iranian lady who waited on me was solicitous, patiently answering my questions.

I love the creamy, sweetish garlic sauce and the spicy sauce--Ican't decide which sauce was better. The koobideh was a tad smoky, the bread warm, and the torched tomato added just the right acidity.

Arya Restaurant
Midtown Wing
Robinsons Place Manila
(+63) 02 567-7200

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